An estimated one billion people, this is 15% of the world population experience some form of disability, either physical, sensory or mental. That is why is crucial not to neglect accessibility when considering organising an event.
Organising an inclusive and accessible event, where everyone experiences and enjoys the same activities is the key to a successful event. No one likes to be treated differently nor be labelled by their disability, but be described by what they are. If we can achieve this, success is guaranteed. You will find below 10 tips for a perfectly accessible corporate event.
- When organising an event, and especially if any of the attendees have some sort of disability, there are basic things that need to be done to make sure the event is fully accessible. For instance, the very first thing we do need to bear in mind is the physical barriers, for they can represent a real problem. Is the event room fully accessible? Is there a lift available? How will my clients overcome these obstacles? Not only for wheelchair users, but also for people with non-visible disabilities.
- Toilets and common areas must be wheelchair friendly, too. As we mentioned beforehand, everyone should be able to experience the same things. If different activities are organised, extra time to move from one to another should be allocated, to allow everyone to reach their destination on time.
- If working stations or working tables are scheduled, do allocate some spaces for wheelchairs at the same level as anybody sitting on a chair.
- Do bear in mind all other disabilities present at the event. Plus, not everyone likes to discuss their disabilities, so do consider all sort of scenarios. Just because they did not mention, does not mean they do not experience any. Hard of hearing, visually impaired or learning disabilities are not visible and often overlooked.
- For the visually impaired, do allow bigger font on presentations, avoiding glossy paper, have printed copies of the presentation whenever possible and do consider having braille signs if any of the attendees is blind. Lights should be on whenever possible and all sorts of hazards, such as loose cables, dark corridors or corners indicated. Loose carpets and not well-indicated steps do become a hazard, too. Front row seating should be allocated to those guests, so they can see as clearly as possible.
- For the hard of hearing, subtitles and sign language interpreters are a must. We must ensure speakers do use a microphone, as well as the attendees during the Q&A session. Also, we should refrain from any form of background music that might interfere with the development of the event. Another tool to consider are the Assistive Listening Devices, that can help our guests enjoy a full experience.
Other important points to consider while organising an inclusive event are:
- Breastfeeding (or lactation) room. A clean, quiet and dedicated room should be taken into account. Breastfeeding a baby or pumping milk should not be done in a toilet, but in a separate room, where mothers and babies feel comfortable and relaxed.
- If we do want our event to be as inclusive as possible, we should take into account the different dietary requirements of our guests. Whether is religious or allergy-related, all attendees have the same rights to enjoy a nice meal. The staff should be well aware of all possible scenarios in order to avoid cross-contamination, something that could spoil our event. Also, remember the lunch or dinner rooms should be accessible, too. Do consider wheelchair users when arranging a buffet.
- Train the staff properly. They should be fully aware of all special needs present at the event, in order to make it as accessible as possible. They should know how to communicate with an attendee with limited speech, a wheelchair user or how to react in case of an emergency, too. Their role is also crucial for the success of the event.
- When sending out the invitation, do consider including a section where attendees can write or describe their needs. It will help you understand what needs to be taken into account in every event to guarantee the accessibility.
If you are planning or considering to organise an event in Spain, Meridional Events is here to help you. We will be delighted to arrange all the details to make sure your event is fully accessible and that everyone will enjoy the same experience.
Meridional Events is your local DMC for all MICE and Corporate Events in Andalusia and the South of Spain. We organise conferences, meetings, exhibitions, golf stays (ask us for accessible golf, too!), team-building experiences and special interest groups. We look forward to hearing from you.